The Presentation of Mary
Today’s festival is called the Presentation of Mary, because on this day Joachim and Anna, the holy parents of the Blessed Virgin, consecrated their little daughter to the divine service in the temple at Jerusalem, and Mary consecrated herself to the Almighty. At that time, there were two ways of consecrating children: one was ordained by the law, which required every male child to be offered to God, forty days, and every female child, eighty days after its birth. This ceremony was called the consecration of the child and the purification of the mother. The second kind of consecration was a voluntary self-oblation by which some persons devoted themselves to the Almighty.
The feast become popular in the western church in religious communities, where members renewed their vows on this day, remembering the one who called herself “the maidservant of the Lord”.
What is so special about November 21st? In the Dominican world, a lot. Not only is it the celebration of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but it is also vow renewal day for all the Sisters in the Congregation during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
It is a special gift to us this year to unite with our dear Pope Francis and all contemplative communities throughout the world on this day of prayer for the “Contemplative Life in the Church”.